Is it possible to travel with a cat? Heck yes! That said, it does require some advance planning and preparation to pull off a successful trip. Pets can have travel anxiety or motion sickness, they can also get bored, have to use the bathroom, or get hungry and thirsty during travel. So, having the right travel gear for your cat can make all the difference when it comes to helping your travel companion feel safe and comfortable. Whether you’re traveling by car, plane, boat, or train (or even just going for a hike), you’ll want to stock up on some important pet travel accessories to make you and your furry friend’s experience a heck of a lot more enjoyable.
To help with that, we’ve decided to create a cat travel equipment list, with recommended items for flying, driving or hiking your way around the globe with your furry friend by your side. These items can help your cat travel comfortably and make your life as a pet parent one hundred times easier.
You and your cat will both feel much more secure if you put them in a carrier. Soft-sided carriers or backpack carriers are lighter and easier to carry if you’re bringing your cat on board an airplane, or in the car. However, if your cat is traveling in the cargo hold a hard plastic carrier is the sturdier and safer option. Regardless of which style you pick, the carrier should be big enough for your cat to stand up and turn around in. It should be made of a leak-proof material that won’t let in moisture, and should be ventilated on at least two or three sides so your pet has plenty of airflow during the trip. Also make sure the door latches securely so there is no chance of your kitty escaping en route.
For travel dishes, you want something light, non breakable, easy to pack, and sturdy enough to keep up with your adventures! A collapsible bowl will be your best way to go because it’s lightweight, really durable (so it will last) and super easy to clean. Plus most models have handy clips, so if you want it easily accessible or can’t squeeze it into your luggage, you can easily clip it to a backpack or carrier.
Leash & Harness
When it comes to travel, look for harnesses that are safe and secure, but easy to put on and non-bulky. Cats are escape artists when it comes to harnesses, so talk to your local pet retailer about the best harness for preventing your cat from slithering out and getting lost. Hardy & durable leashes that are comfortable to hold are always great to have on hand as well. Retractable leashes are another option that allow your kitty a little more freedom to explore.
A long day’s travel means plenty of opportunities to nap. Comfortable, non-bulky bedding is key to helping your cat feel cozy, wherever they are. A small blanket or towel is a great option if your kitty is prone to travel anxiety or motion sickness. They are easy to swap out and wash in case of bathroom accidents or upset bellies. Alternatively, if your furry friend is accustomed to traveling, a crate pad or small bed could be good options as well.
Travel Friendly Toys
Keeping cats entertained is just as important when you are on the road as it is when you’re home. Especially if you are in a confined space for a longer period of time. We suggest bringing a few of your kitty’s favorites with you, as this can help them feel more at home wherever you are. But pick wisely – it’s probably best to leave anything hefty behind and just take smaller, more compact toys.
Travel Litter Box
Probably the trickiest part of traveling with a cat is toilet time, right? Well the internet has you covered! There are so many portable litter boxes on the market and having one could be a literal game changer. With most being lightweight and collapsible, having one you can bring anywhere is a must have. Plus, a durable waterproof liner makes for easy cleaning and leak-free usage. Phew!
When traveling, your cat needs to be up-to-date on all vaccines, and you should get written proof of their health status in the form of a signed health certificate (also called a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection) to take with you. This is super important because you never know what your furry friend will encounter while on a trip with you, and it’s best to have them fully protected. Additionally, you may be asked to show that paperwork, especially if you’re crossing state lines, traveling by air, or leaving the country. If you’re planning to visit a foreign country, check with the embassy or consulate about pet travel regulations.
Extra Travel Tips
Check airline and FAA requirements ahead of travel – Nearly every airline has its own rules for flying with a pet. Check with your airline well ahead of your flight to confirm whether your animal will be allowed to fly on the plane. Some airlines may only accept registered service animals on board. Additionally, most flights limit the number of in-cabin animals per flight, or will only fly with pets in the cargo during certain months. It’s wise to make a reservation for your pet well in advance to secure them a spot on board.
Microchip your cat – If your cat isn’t already microchipped, your upcoming trip is just the reason you need to get it done. Microchipping is added protection that will only aid you in an emergency, and in some cases may be required for international trips.This is to help others identify your cat and locate you in case of an escape or if there’s an emergency during travel. Collars also provide this information but can easily slip off in different circumstances.
Your Pets are our Priority!
And there you have it! The NASC ultimate guide to the essential cat travel accessories. At the National Animal Supplement Council, our number one priority is to promote the health and wellbeing of your pets. That is why we created the NASC Audit Program and the Quality Seal, which helps you identify animal health and nutritional supplements that come from responsible suppliers committed to producing the highest quality, most consistent products available. Visit our website to learn more and to see a list of NASC members that have earned the Quality Seal.